RE: [asa] social evolution for Jon Tandy

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Mon May 11 2009 - 16:16:11 EDT

Hi Jon- I changed the subject title to reflect this post and the old one was tired.

Social evolution is different from biological evolution just as it is different from cosmological evolution.

Evolution defined my way means "to get to point c you have to travel from point a through point b." Things just don't pop-out of thin air.

In biological evolution, man came from apelike creatures, which eventually game from sea creatures, etc.

In cosmological evolution all the elements of the periodic table can be traced back to the explosion of stars.

In social evolution all of the advanced social traits can be traced backwords.

Example: in finance (an institutional machine created by society which is invisible), we recently had 'credit default swaps' (which some blame for the current credit crisis) These could never have been invented without the backbone of mortgages, bonds, etc. first existing.

Slavery vs. freedom. Freedom is a superior thought, and that it why it took awhile to arise and be predominate in advanced civilizations. Lower forms of life practice and condone slavery, as well as racism (unequal rights based on race).

Nuclear power is not good or bad. How it is used is good or bad. Nuclear power may be a good energy source (I'm not educated in that debate). Maybe nuclear weapons are good for deterrence, but bad in actual use... like the gun your neighbor has.

You say:
"Or did these social concepts evolve naturally, with God's providential guidance over the affairs of men... "

What's wrong with nature if God made it? Your body heals itself. Plants can grow on their own without your help. Does that detract from God in some way?


From: Jon Tandy []
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 7:42 AM
To: 'ASA'; Dehler, Bernie
Subject: FW: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)

Bernie, I'm not sure whether you received this originally through the ASA list. No one seemed to comment on it, but I was curious of your reaction to my comments. Here it is again, with a few corrections that I sent just after the original.

If this didn't come through the ASA list originally, I'm curious to know why not.

Jon Tandy

From: [] On Behalf Of Jon Tandy
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 11:25 AM
To: 'ASA'
Subject: RE: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)


Did those things "evolve" naturally, through random changes in human condition, as either a happy accident (truly random mutation) or an inevitable consequence of human history (sort of as is proposed biologically, with convergent evolution being set up to converge on certain outcomes)? If humanistic sociologists tell you that anti-slavery policies or women's rights naturally evolved as a consequence of larger brains developing their own standards of moral fairness, in the absence of God or an absolute moral law, how will you answer them?

Or did humans exercise the choice to take a stand to change the status quo, in response to a sense of moral obligation to some higher law of justice, equality, and fairness? Did they willingly choose to exercise free will, even to suffering the consequences, to stand up against the seemingly "natural" status quo of mankind's oppression and subjugation of other groups? Think of Wilbur Wilburforce, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and many others who have exercised great labor and sacrifice to bring about these changes in social thought, and tell me whether this has anything to do with evolution - at least anything even remotely related to the term "evolution" as used by the natural scientists in the field of biology. Men fought and died in the United States both defending slavery and opposing it; one side prevailed, and slavery is now illegal. How can this be said to be evolution?

Oh, and by the way, what about slavery as still practiced in other parts of the world? Have they not evolved as far, socially, as we in the "developed" world have, as evidenced by our attention to human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Is this not just a bit rosy-eyed and biased toward the so-called developed world? How many of those in the underdeveloped world have dropped nuclear weapons or Agent Orange or carpet bombed populations of civilians, or bilked billions of dollars from unwary citizens and third-world governments? (all things that our non-slavery, women's suffrage, minority rights culture in the United States has done over the last 60 years) What does "evolution" mean in this context?

If there is anything even remotely related to the use of the term evolution in these two genres, what is it? I submit it's the use of the term "evolution" as "change over time", which is such a vague usage that I believe it is equivocation to relate the two. Everything changes over time, doesn't it? Oh, except God. But that's not even true. Okay, theologically I believe that "God changes not." But if you look at God's dealing with Israel (law of Moses, Abraham-centric religion) vs. His dealing with the ancient prophets of Israel (who spoke against the law in some ways, calling the people to a higher law of the heart) vs. His dealing with the early church vs. later Christian religion - one might make a good case that God does change in His dealings and even His explicit legal requirements for believers. I could provide an answer to that for the critics, but if you are going to use such a broad definition of evolution that takes in any change over time, then God evolves. Are you willing to deal with the theological consequences?

Or did these social concepts evolve naturally, with God's providential guidance over the affairs of men, in the same way that natural scientists have proposed for God's governance over the biological and cosmological history of the universe? I find this a very attractive belief, both in the natural and social sciences - God typically interacts with the cosmos below the surface, so to speak, to providentially direct its development in certain directions, while allowing the natural forces of cause and effect (and human free will) to act independently in many ways (and not ruling out overt dealings, such as miracles). Again, the meaning of "evolution" in a social sciences context seems meaningless other than "change," and seems more related to the goal of atheistic social scientists to preach a non-theistic philosophy of human development. Even if providence is true, just as in the natural sciences the concept of providence is a theological construct, not something that is provable or meaningful in a scientific context. Oh, one more - if evolution is simply "change over time", then the water evolved into wine at the marriage of Cana. Does this have any meaning or positive value, biologically, socially, philosophically or theologically?

Jon Tandy

From: [] On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 9:32 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] fall of Satan logic questions (racism)

"Ethics, well, they just 'don't evolve' in so far as they are not biological or otherwise 'natural' things."

All of these ethics have evolved (changed for the better):
-- Slavery (was universally condoned, now shunned by developed nations)
-- Women's rights (equal pay for equal work, for example)
-- Minority rights (for African Americans, as an example)

That's a small listing. Another huge category is Military operations. Example: carpet-bombing a city was a natural tool of war- now it is denounced as immoral (replaced with "surgical strikes"). Notice the negative connotation of WMD... probably used to be good as a show of strength, as "we have WMD's, don't mess with us!"

You can't put religion in science because there is no common understanding of religion. There are different religions, and different flavors within religions (Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, etc.). There's also no way to measure anything with religion, because it is super-natural (it has to be natural to measure).


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Received on Mon May 11 16:18:07 2009

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